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A Case for Lowering Expectations

I’m a plan-ahead-for-every-scenario type of person. It’s a good quality to have until you find yourself in a situation where you can’t plan ahead. That is not my comfort zone. And it’s the same for a lot of other people.

Come on, raise your hand if that’s you too!

I recently tried improv for the very first time. Like the other individuals in the room, I wanted to get better at thinking of my feet. I wanted to feel more confident when being put on the spot.  

In improv, you can’t prepare because you have to respond quickly to what other people say or do. Although we weren’t going to be “performing” improv since the workshop was called “Improv for Everyday Life,” I felt nervous going into it. I started unpacking why I was feeling this way.

It turns out, I was nervous because I wondered if I would be “good” at improv. I was pre-judging myself! 

That’s when I knew I had to change my way of thinking about this new experience.

I didn’t need to be “good” at improv. Improv games and exercises are about fun, creativity, and spontaneity. It definitely isn’t a competition and no one is graded or judged on how well they do. There is no prize for being the best.


I was putting too much pressure on myself. And for no good reason at all!

Has this ever happened to you when trying something new?

In these moments, we need to flip the script in our mind. We need to think thoughts that propel us forward instead of holding us back. 

I started telling myself:

This is my first-time trying improv. Who cares if I’m good or not?! This is a fun experiment in developing a new type of communication skill. Let’s just see what happens!
See what I did there? I lowered my expectations. And did it feel good!


By having a “Let’s just see what happens!” attitude I was no longer nervous. I started thinking about the experience of trying instead of focusing on the outcome. Doing so actually made me more excited about the improv workshop.

When something feels too scary or risky, try lowering your expectations around the outcome or don’t worry about the outcome at all.

There is value in simply trying and being open to change.

Give yourself permission to think, say or do things differently.

Follow Ted Lasso’s advice: “Be curious, not judgmental.” He talked about doing this with other people, but I want you to do it for yourself.

When you do, I encourage you to just see what happens!


Coaching Question:
What is something new you would try if you didn’t care at all about being good or bad at it?

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